Sati is a funeral practice among some Hindu communities in which a recently-widowed woman would immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.
The term is derived from the original name of the goddess Sati also known as Dakshayani, who immolated herself, unable to bear her father Daksha's humiliation of her (living) husband Shiva.
By the end of the 18th century, the practice had been banned in territories held by some European powers. The Portuguese banned the practice in Goa by about 1515, though it is not believed to have been especially prevalent there. The Dutch and the French had also banned it in Chinsurah and Pondicherry. The British who by then ruled much of the subcontinent, and the Danes, who held the small territories of Tranquebar and Serampore, permitted it into the 19th century.
Attempts to limit or ban the practice had been made by individual British officers in the 18th century, but without the backing of the British East India Company.
From about 1812, the Bengali reformer Raja Rammohan Roy started his own campaign against the practice. He was motivated by the experience of seeing his own sister-in-law commit sati.
On 4 December 1829, the practice was formally banned in the Bengal Presidency lands.
Sati remained legal in some princely states for a time after it had been abolished in lands under British control. The last such state to permit it, Jaipur, banned the practice in 1846.